April 1, 2017


Throw Away the New Playbook (Jonah Goldberg, 4/01/17, National Review)

If you don't think politics matters, keep in mind that the incentives for GOP congressmen to cooperate with Trump drops in tandem with his approval ratings. Similarly, the people who dismiss the "mainstream media" as illegitimate tend to miss the point that lots of voters don't share their view. By all means argue that those people are wrong. But at least acknowledge that those people vote too. And that matters. Everyone who cheers Sean Hannity's limitless defenses of everything Trump does seem not to care that they are not a majority. 

The people who think that the way to help conservatism is to support everything Trump says and does simply have it wrong. If he tweets "2+2=5," you don't help him (or the cause or the country) by saying "He's right!" or "This is a brilliant ploy to deconstruct the 'alt-left' mathematical establishment!" The best thing you can do is say "Trump is wrong and he should spend his time doing what he was elected to do." 

Trump might not listen -- no really, it's possible -- but criticism (reasonable criticism, of the sort we do at National Review) at least holds out the possibility that he'll stop tweeting indefensible things and focus on what he needs to do to have a successful presidency. But if pundits race to a TV studio to say "Trump is right! He's always right!" (particularly when they don't actually believe it, which is often the case), he will be encouraged to keep doing what he's doing -- because, like Obama, he tends to listen most closely to his biggest cheerleaders. Trump's one truly great success so far was the nomination of Neil Gorsuch. Why was that a success? Because he outsourced the task to Leonard Leo of the Federalist Society and Mitch McConnell -- two guys who relied on a tried-and-true playbook.

The other problem with the defenses of Donald is that they concede the case against but argue with some marginal piece of the whole.  Thus, while Donald concedes that the feds were surveilling Trump Tower and his aides show the lead investigator why the surveillance was necessary, the Right attacks a former Obama staffer who told her former colleagues to preserve the evidence so the suspects couldn't destroy it. where do those defenses actually get you? Other than giving talking points to your parrots?

And if you are only willing to propose anti-factual policies then what alternatives do you have but to pick at trivia?  Your main points are, after all, indefensible.

Posted by at April 1, 2017 8:14 AM